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The NATO Expansion: Did NATO Agree Not To Expand Toward Russia After The Cold War?

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We’ve been reading and hearing about a NATO expansion agreement for years. That NATO and the United States agreed not to expand eastward toward Russia. That claim has been repeatedly used on blogs and podcasts since the Ukrainian invasion. Is it true? Let’s look into it.

According to Vladimir Putin, this is one of the main reasons for the tension between Russia and the west, resulting in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Did the United States or NATO agree not to expand toward Russia?

Was There Such An Agreement – Not To Expand NATO Toward Russia After The Cold War?

The short answer is, ‘Not Officially.’ Based on what research I could muster and my chronically declining memory, there were no official promises that NATO would not expand toward Russia.

We remember, as I have mentioned many times before and as you know very well, how you promised us in the 1990s that [NATO] would not move an inch to the East. You cheated us shamelessly: there have been five waves of NATO expansion, and now the weapons systems I mentioned have been deployed in Romania and deployment has recently begun in Poland. This is what we are talking about, can you not see?

Vladimir Putin – Annual News Conference – December 23, 2021 (Kremlin Transcript)

Unofficially, things get muddy.

Apparently, James Baker, the then US secretary of state under President George HW Bush, verbally asked Mikhail Gorbachev if he would give up their half of Germany if NATO agreed not to expand eastward. This was all part of Germany’s unification.

“How about this idea: How about you let your half of Germany go, and we agree to move that one piece forward?”

Then Secretary of State James Baker to Mikhail Gorbachev – February 9, 1990
naturally, Nato could not expand its territory to the current territory of the GDR.”
Helmut Kohl

Just a day later, Helmut Kohl, the then Chancellor of Germany, said, “naturally, Nato could not expand its territory to the current territory of the GDR.” German Democratic Republic (GDR) was then the communist state East Germany.

These assertions were never written into a formal agreement. President George HW Bush disagreed with the unofficial proposal and, regarding Baker’s question, said he “got a little forward on his skis.”

NATO Expansion Drenched In Muddy Waters

As I said, the history and records get muddied. There are meetings, assertions, accusations, and agreements between several countries, resulting in distrust and deception from all sides.

In 1994, Russia signed an accord, The Budapest Memorandum, in which Moscow agreed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and, in exchange, Ukraine would give up 1,900 nuclear warheads.

NATO Denies That An Agreement Of Eastward Expansion Exists

In NATO’s article titled “NATO-Russia: setting the record straight,” NATO insists an agreement to restrict its expansion east was never made, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is not a threat to Russia.

Such an agreement was never made. NATO’s door has been open to new members since it was founded in 1949 – and that has never changed. This “Open Door Policy” is enshrined in Article 10 of NATO’s founding treaty, which says “any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic” can apply for membership.

NATO Article: NATO-Russia: setting the record straight

Putin’s Perspective

I can only speculate on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s true perspective and motivation. Personally, I believe he’s a corrupt and bloodthirsty dictator. I think he hated watching the break up of the Soviet Union.

“One state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way”
President Vladimir Putin

Putin is using the idea that the United States has broken an agreement that NATO wouldn’t expand closer to Russia as justification to invade Ukraine. He wants an empire, and he hates western ideology.

I also believe Putin didn’t anticipate that his military might would be as inadequate as it has been. That has to be embarrassing to a man determined to show the world that Russia is a force to be feared. He blames the west for this. It also puts Putin in a dangerous corner.

Putin believes that Ukraine IS part of Russia. He thinks they are ‘One People.’

I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia. Our spiritual, human and civilizational ties formed for centuries and have their origins in the same sources, they have been hardened by common trials, achievements and victories. Our kinship has been transmitted from generation to generation. It is in the hearts and the memory of people living in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will be many times stronger and more successful. For we are one people.

Exerpt from the Article by Vladimir Putin “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” – July 12, 2021

Putin also sees NATO expansion as a threat. And it probably is.

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The Bottom Line – My Opinions

First, I’d like to mention that, as powerful as the US is, it’s not NATO. The United States has no authority to speak on behalf of or make decisions for NATO. I understand that backdoor negotiations always happen, and we’re butt deep in the world domination game.

Still, legal written documentation is necessary regarding agreements, contracts, packs, treaties, etc. You can trick an old lady into buying into a scam, but the idea that Mikhail Gorbachev was ‘tricked’ into an agreement is ludicrous.

A little personal background (Skippable)

I enlisted into the US Army in the early 80s under President Ronald Reagan and was in my thirties during the nineties. The cold war was horrific and a continuous news topic. So was nuclear war. At least, it was during my six years in the Army.

Then in the nineties, the Middle East blew up shortly after I got out of the military. And we all know how that turned out.

When I enlisted, young and full of American patriotism (Before being a Patriot was considered a threat to national security), I thought a war with the Soviets was inevitable. We had to stop the Evil Soviet Empire.

Later, I realized we were the world’s police state when it served our own interests and had learned nothing from Vietnam. We would repeat it in the middle east.

Now, as we continue to push for democratic dominance over the world, whether or not you see that as good or bad, I understand there are no solutions. Wars, in every form, will continue throughout my lifetime and beyond.

Whether our next formal war will be by conventional means, nuclear, economical, digital, or even AI remains to be seen. More than likely, we’ll see all of the above. I say ‘formal war’ because we already see most of those methods of attacks today.

Was our push to break up the Soviet Union necessary? Probably. The problem falls into motive and action. It’s easy to justify our actions when you believe the United States government and our media. Back then, I did. Now?

I wouldn’t trust the government to babysit my dog!

It would cost millions of dollars. He’d be vaccinated against the corona, masked, put on puberty blockers, converted to transexual, and then canceled out of existence. You know, for his own good.

War Is As – War Does

Governments are going to war. Period. Until a total collapse, the top dogs will stick their paws into outside territories to show the pack who’s alpha. They want to eat first. Other nations are going to resist and topple those on top. Technology is the only difference between now and the Roman Empire two thousand years ago. It’s just as bloody and just as brutal.

Solutions: What’s One To Do?

What can you, as a dehumanized citizen of Oceania(Aff link), do about Big Brother? Very little in the grand scheme of things.

However, you can continue to live a happy and fulfilling life by rejecting the rhetoric. Work on self-reliance and life design. The less dependent we are on the deceptive and corrupt government, the less impact their stupidity will have on our lives.

Side Note: While I think it’s better to worry about our personal lives, I believe in educating ourselves. It’s a delicate balance. While we don’t want to get wrapped up in drama to the point that it dominates our thoughts, it is an interesting topic. Therefore, I just ordered three books I’m looking forward to reading.

Below are affiliate links to actual books I’ve ordered. Thank you for your support.

See ya, Brian

Related/Helpful Reading:
Divide And Conquer Game – You Are The Divided – You Are The Conquered The Opinion Blog
Have We Lost Trust In American Leadership? The Opinion Blog
Years Of Lies And You Still Trust The Media? Seriously? The Opinion Blog
We’ve Learned What The True Threats Are. Now What? Next Step Survival
Yes, You CAN Survive Nuclear War Next Step Survival

Image Credits: Featured image via NATO On The Map copyright Google Maps/Google Earth. Putin image by conolan. NATO logo image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images. Think image by Image by Gerd Altmann.

About This Author

Brian D. Hawkins is a late-blooming thought leader in his mind. So please don't disturb his happy thoughts. It's all he has.

Brian D. Hawkins has been a blogger for over twenty years, having written thousands of public articles on dozens of websites. He currently blogs for and his personal blog at

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